The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything, including how we shop, play, work and eat, among other things. As a result, this has given rise to new opportunities in the food and beverage innovation field.
The year 2020 was a little bit sluggish as most F&B companies were busy trying to save their businesses. Their only hope was that 2021 would be a more stable year, and as expected, this has come to pass. Product developers are actively searching for new and better ways to improve efficiencies and satisfy customer needs.
Let’s dive in!
- Significant Growth in the Plant-based Foods Market
Plant-based foods have been trending for a few years, but their popularity accelerated even more after the pandemic. According to experts, this will continue through to the end of this year and the ones that will follow.
In 2020, plant-based hit $5.6 billion, recording an increase of 29% from the previous year.
By 2024, we expect plant-based meats and poultry to hit $2 billion from $1.3billion in 2020. Beef, pork, and chicken will enjoy the highest growth. Plant-based seafood will hit $62M.
At the same time, plant-based dairy will hit $5.2billion from $4.3billion.
Wheat protein, soy, and pea are among the top ingredients in this industry. But more plant ingredients will come into play as companies continue to launch new products.
2. Health and Immunity Still a Top Priority
Staying healthy was a top priority for the whole of last year. And according to research, this will remain as the top 2021 food trend.
Customers are now more aware of what they eat. They want more healthy foods that will boost their immunity.
Many companies are taking advantage of this opportunity to provide healthy foods and ensure that customers get what they want. Immunity-boosting ingredients such as moringa, elderberry, turmeric, and probiotics are also on the rise this year.
3. Handling the Kitchen Burnout
The high level of cooking experienced by chefs since the pandemic brought about increased fatigue and stress in 2020. There was an increase in demand for meals that involve heavy and moderate preparation.
But 2021 has been a good year! Simpler and easy-to-prepare meals are on the rise. Frozen and freshly prepared meals are some of the emerging trends we’ll continue to see for the rest of the year and probably even post-pandemic.
4. Everyday Specials
The demand for specialty or premium meals to create eat-out experiences in their homes is increasing. With almost everything from social entertainment, movie nights, gaming, to dating this is even more important. The demand can only grow stronger.
Some specialty meals that have been high on demand include wine, spirits, beer, Mexican foods, cheese, energy drinks, spaghetti sauce, candy, and Frankfurters.
Technology in the food industry has never been so crucial as it is right now. It is impossible to imagine life without it, especially during the pandemic.
Some areas that have benefited from technology are
- Food production; technology has automated food production to speed up the process and produce more food products. That has helped fight food insecurity
- Market research analysis
- Forecasting food demand
- Food distribution through online delivery
- Food hygiene and quality through artificial intelligence
- Ingredient development
- Food Waste Management
- Customer engagement through virtual reality and augmented reality
- 3D printed foods for people who have issues digesting solid foods
- Transparency through technology in the food industry
From the look of things, technology is one of the 2021 food trends that will outlast the pandemic. If used in the right way, it will make the world a better place to live.